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How To Open A Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Ohio?

How To Open A Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Ohio?

Even though the state of Ohio has a pretty extensive and user-focused medical marijuana program, it wasn’t easy to reach this point. After legalizing the use of medical cannabis back in 2016, the state officially started cannabis sales at the very start of 2019. Similar kinds of delays were recorded in the distribution of medical cannabis licenses which eventually impacted the launch of state-authorized medical cannabis dispensaries for registered medical marijuana users. 

Fortunately, things are more organized now as the whole process of getting a medical marijuana dispensary license to open a dispensary in Ohio is quite well structured and linear. However, you can get stuck in all kinds of small details if you’re planning to apply for a dispensary permit on your own. So, here are a few steps you need to follow in the given order if you’re thinking about opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Ohio,

Understanding Ohio’s cannabis regulations

The first and perhaps the most important step is to get a strong idea about the cannabis laws effective within the state of Ohio. Make sure to do your own research and consult an expert on the matter if there are some legal clauses that aren’t self-explanatory. You can even hire a lawyer or acquire services from companies like Ohio 420 Doctors for this whole process but doing that will surely require a lot of money. Plus, understanding the Ohio cannabis laws can be beneficial for the future if you’re aiming to open and then manage a medical cannabis dispensary.

Creating a functional and practical business plan

Now that you understand what Ohio cannabis laws are, it is time for you to create a functional and practical business plan. Remember, the complete plan can be based on assumptions and a pretty good amount of possibilities, but such a business plan is not practical in the long run. You need to take calculated chances and expand at a pace that can be sustained by your dispensary’s financial model. Also, don’t forget to include an average of the direct and indirect costs of running a medical cannabis dispensary in Ohio. Remember, your business plan must address the following points,

  • Information about the proposed location
  • Information about inventory, including potential product sources
  • Financial overview including a proposed budget and how you intend to handle financing the business
  • Plans for the physical storefront, including notes about security and surveillance
  • Plans for maintaining regulatory compliance

Applying for a license 

Now that you have all the necessary documents in place and a pretty solid business plan set in action, you can apply for your Ohio cannabis dispensary license. However, you can’t apply for a license throughout the year, the Ohio cannabis regulatory commission only opens the application portal when there is infact a need for new dispensaries. But if the application portal is open, you need the following documents, duly signed,

  • Zoning forms
  • Personal identification information
  • Trade secret form
  • Releases and attestations forms
  • Tax authorization form

With these documents in place, you’ll need to pay a $5000 non-refundable dispensary license application fee as well.

Going through the background check

If you’re one of those people who actually have around 10% financial interest in the proposed cannabis dispensary, you’ll need to provide your fingerprints as well as authorizing a background check. You can provide your fingerprints through the WebCheck providers.

Receiving your license and starting out

If everything checks out, you can have your cannabis dispensary license issued by the state of Ohio in a span of a few months. The board can also conduct a lottery or drawing to fairly distribute licenses among all eligible applicants.

Are there any insurance requirements?

Yes, as per Ohio’s cannabis laws, having an insurance plan is a must to apply for a cannabis dispensary license. On the bright side, having a functional insurance policy provides a solid backup plan in case of an operational or financial loss. Some of the popular insurance plans to choose from include General Liability, Worker’s Compensation Insurance, Property Insurance, Product Liability Insurance, and Directors/Officers Insurance.

Types of dispensary licenses in Ohio

At the moment, there is only one type of cannabis dispensary license endorsed by the state of Ohio. yes, we are infact talking about the sale of medical cannabis license. Even though the state of Ohio has legalized the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis at the beginning of 2024, we all still need to wait for some time before the state can sort out the license application procedure for recreational cannabis sales.

How much opening a recreational cannabis dispensary will cost in Ohio?

The overall cost of opening a recreational cannabis dispensary in Ohio can be divided into the application/license costs and the taxes/fees. On average, the application fee for a dispensary license is $5000 with the certificate of operation having an application cost of $70,000. Apart from this, you’ll need to pay the biennial renewal fee as well which is going to cost you an additional $70,000.

All medical marijuana is subject to a 5.75% sales tax with the local authorities imposing a cannabis sales tax ranging between 0.25% to 2.25%. Non-medical cannabis products will be subjected to another 10% excise tax, separate from the already imposed sales and local tax.

In short, opening and then running a cannabis dispensary in Ohio is going to cost you something between $500,000 and $2,000,000. You’ll also need to pay an employee licensing fee between $100 and $500 per employee.

Final Note

The whole process of acquiring a cannabis dispensary license in Ohio greatly depends upon how well you have structured your application. Make sure to go through all the necessary regulations, attach required documents, authorize a background check, and then hope for the very best till a decision is made by the state for your application.


Are there any location requirements for opening a cannabis dispensary in Ohio?

Yes, a cannabis dispensary in Ohio must be at least 500 feet away from a school, church, public library, public playground, or a public park.

How long will it take to get my license?

The whole process of filling out an application, submitting it, and then getting approval is going to take up to 9 months on average.

Can I have multiple cannabis dispensaries at the same time?

Yes, as per the Ohio cannabis laws, you can have up to 8 cannabis dispensary licenses at the same time.

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